Meet cancer researcher Dr. Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw

April 25, 2022

When she’s not studying to be a doctor or in the lab working on cancer-killing viruses, Métis researcher Dr. Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw can be found mentoring the next generation of scientists and health-care providers.

"The research we do amongst our group is generally centered around oncolytic viruses. So onco meaning cancer, and lytic meaning killing, so cancer killing viruses. These are viruses that have either been weakened to become more safe in human beings or maybe don’t infect human beings very well. But they happen to infect cancer cells very, very well, so we’re working to find ways to make them even better at killing different types of cancer.

With chemotherapy, a lot of people know that you have a systemic illness, so your whole body starts to feel sick. But with the oncolytic viruses, what we aim to do is hopefully have somebody just get mild cold symptoms as their healthy cells fight off the virus. But the virus will keep replicating within the tumor, and hopefully will lead to very little systemic sickness.

I actually work right above where people get chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so I’m motivated every day by all the patients that I see, every single day. I see people who look sick, and who need more options, and that’s what really motivates me.

This is the place where I’ve met some of my best friends, and the cool thing about being at The Ottawa Hospital is there’s people from everywhere. I have colleagues that are from Germany, Ukraine, like literally everywhere. So you almost get to just learn about the world being at work, which is really, really cool.

Being here at the University of Ottawa, I have joined the Indigenous Student Association. And they gave us these wonderful lanyards so we can identify as Indigenous students at the hospital or at the university, so I always wear that. And I think that it helps to identify myself to the Indigenous patients, and tends to make them a little bit more comfortable, and they’re a little bit more open to chat sometimes."

Learn how Dr. Jamieson-Datzkiw was awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous for her innovative work to help create new cancer-killing viruses to treat aggressive breast and ovarian cancers. 

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The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute